Romantic Displays

By Amy Alessio

People enjoy reading about Valentine’s Days gone wrong, as long as happy endings also occur! Luckily, romance fiction has plenty of themes, authors, and titles to fill this niche. If you run out of ideas for themed displays, try a twist on a Staff Favorite display by asking patrons to put names of romance books they love to reread on a write-on board or on slips to draw for a prize. Use the titles for the display.

Mardi Gras Style: Beads for Books: Patrons who add a favorite book to the display or write out a book suggestion get beads! Some New Orleans-set romance to get the display started: Tempt Me with Forever by Maria Luis, Rochelle Alers’s Innkeepers books, Under the Lights by Tia Louise, Bitter Reckoning by Heather Graham, Bourbon Street Boys by Elle Casey.

Outlandish: Try a plaid tablecloth and non-fiction books on swords, Scotland travel, and more to add interest to this theme, along with the Outlander and Lord John series. A Stonehenge model will capture interest as people move the stones around. Of course, a big cutout of Jamie Fraser wouldn’t hurt, either.

Romance in the Future: Time-travel romance or futuristic titles would be fun here. Invite patrons to make a prediction about 2050 for a Post-it board near the books. Futuristic titles from J. D. Robb, Jayne Castle, and Patricia Briggs are welcome here, among many more.

Military and More: Put this display near a maker station to decorate cards for a local veterans hospital or senior center. Suzanne Brockmann titles will join forces here with Catherine Coulter, Julie Garwood, Lisa Renee Jones, Pamela Clare, and Harper Sloan—and many more!  

Valentine’s Day Is Murder: There are several amateur sleuth series with Valentine’s Day titles. Bring out the black tablecloth and broken paper hearts for some romantic suspense lovers: MaryJanice Davidson’s Valentine’s Day Is Killing Me is a good place to start. Isis Crawford, Ellery Adams, and Leslie Meier have Valentine’s Day mysteries in their series.

Cookin’ Up Romance: Put copies of recipes from staff members out. Invite patrons to bring copies of recipes to exchange. Set out some delicious romance reads. Cheris Hodges’s Strategic Seduction, Andrew Grey’s Taste of Love series, Tart by Lauren Dane, K. M. Jackson’s To Me I Wed, and many more foodie titles will be welcome here.

Bad Girls/Bad Boys: The reformed bad girl or boy is a trope that never goes out of style. Bikers, rogues, and more belong here. Some rocker and BDSM titles also may fit this theme. Suzanne Enoch’s Jellicoe series is fun with a semi-reformed ex-burgler as heroine. Plenty of rogues from the historicals fit the bad boys theme, including the popular Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas. Cydney Rax’s dramatic stories are filled with characters trying to reform. It’s hard to find too many romances that don’t have at least one character who fits this description.

Love Under the Full Moon: Are your patrons wild about werewolves? Other creatures are welcome on this display, too. Try including books by Shelly Laurenston, Carrie Ann Ryan, Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, and more. Offer slips for patrons to vote for favorite fantastic creatures and add a line for patrons to add book recommendations.

Crazy About Cowboys: Designate half of the display for old west and half for modern western romances. Larry McMurtry can be found in the old west section for those who want to revisit him, along with Beverly Jenkins’s historicals. The modern half includes Brenda Jackson, Mia Hopkins, Kate Pearce, and Carolyn Brown.

Un-Valentine or Anything but Love: Great for YA sections! Put down a black tablecloth, and cut paper hearts into broken hearts to decorate. Either put teen fiction about break-ups (including Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, Dear Heartbreak edited by Heather Demetrious, Where She Went by Gayle Foreman, and Audrey, Wait by Robin Benway) on display, or set out favorite teens books without romance such as superhero graphic novels.